Who we are

The Young Global Leaders ® Community is an accelerator for a dynamic community of exceptional people with the vision, courage, and influence to drive positive change in the world.

Our growing membership of more than 1,400 members and alumni of 120 nationalities includes civic and business innovators, entrepreneurs, technology pioneers, educators, activists, artists, journalists, and more.

Aligned with the World Economic Forum’s mission, we seek to drive public-private co-operation in the global public interest. We are united by the belief that today’s pressing problems present an opportunity to build a better future across sectors and boundaries.

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Meet our members

Fabio Ziemssen

Director, Food Innovation, NX-FOOD, Germany

Fabio Ziemssen has been working at the forefront of food-tech development in Germany and Europe for a decade to create a strong ecosystem for innovators, visionaries and founders. He has built a number of communities, including the Alternative Protein Association, Next Generation Food Think Tank and Foodnext, creating workspaces and innovation hubs, such as Food2025.de and Super7000. In 2017, he was elected by "Business Punk" as the top leader in food innovation in Germany.

Edward Smith

Partner, DLA Piper LLP, USA

Edward "Smitty" Smith has emerged as a rising star in the technology and telecommunications policy arenas.
A graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law School, he translated his academic success into professional success as a corporate attorney at one of the world’s largest law firms, Hogan Lovells. While in private practice as a corporate lawyer, Smitty advised clients and helped close over $40 billion worth of merger transactions for publicly traded companies.
Smitty left his firm to join the 2008 Obama presidential campaign. After the campaign, Smitty served as Deputy General Counsel of the Presidential Inauguration Committee and joined the Obama Administration.
At the Department of Commerce, Smitty spearheaded national broadband programs that generated critical data about broadband availability and capability and leveraged technology to create new economic opportunities for millions of Americans. After an emergency detail to the Economic Development Administration, where he led teams developing economic response strategies in the aftermath of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Smitty joined the Federal Communications Commission where he served as Chief of Staff and Senior Counsel for a special technology taskforce
Smitty left the FCC to run in the first election for Attorney General of the District of Columbia. Though he lost in a hotly contested race, Smitty received over 35,000 votes citywide and gained the endorsements of nearly every major union and labor organization in the District.
Smitty entered local government and served in the Mayor’s Cabinet as the Director of the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants.He then returned to the FCC as Legal Advisor to the Chairman.
Smitty is now a Partner at the international law firm of DLA Piper, where he advises clients on a broad range of telecommunications and technology issues in countries around the globe.

Aarti Takoordeen

Chief Financial Officer, Johannesburg Stock Exchange, South Africa

Aarti Takoordeen is a qualified CA, from the age of 24 years, younger than most, she paved her way through the Technology industry and was Finance Director by 29 years of age. Aarti is now the CFO of the JSE and excited about significantly contributing to the local South African environment for the first time in her career. Aarti is passionate about breaking the mould of traditional finance professionals and being seen as a value adding business partner in our professional sphere of influence.

Feng Zhang

James and Patricia Poitras Professor in Neuroscience, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA

Bachelor's degree, Harvard University; PhD in Chemistry, Stanford University. As a graduate student, Stanford University, co-invented a set of technologies called optogenetics for studying the function of brain circuits. Former: Junior Fellow, Harvard University Society of Fellows. Currently, Core Member, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard; Investigator, McGovern Institute; James and Patricia Poitras Professor of Neuroscience, MIT. Developed CRISPR technology for genome engineering and applying it to study diseases and development treatments. Recipient of awards and honours.

Martín Guzmán

Minister of Economy, Ministry of Economy of Argentina, Argentina

Martín Guzmán was born in La Plata on October 12th, 1982. He has graduated as a Doctor in Economics (PhD. in Economics) from Brown University, United States. Prior to his doctoral studies, he obtained a Bachelor's degree in Economics and a Master's degree in Economics, both from Universidad Nacional de La Plata (National University of La Plata), Argentina. He is a researcher at the Columbia University School of Business, and Director of the Public Debt Restructuring Program of the Policy Dialogue Initiative of the same School. Together with Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, he has conducted the academic training program of the Columbia University Initiative for Policy Dialogue. He is an associate professor at Facultad de Ciencias Económicas de la Universidad de Buenos Aires (Faculty of Economic Sciences of the University of Buenos Aires). As of December 2019, he is a tenured lecturer at Facultad de Ciencias Económicas de la Universidad de La Plata (School of Economic Sciences of the National University of La Plata). He is editor in chief of the Journal of Globalization and Development and has published numerous academic articles in specialized journals and books.

Lucy McRae

Science Fiction Artist, Body Architect, Film Maker, Lucy McRae, Australia

Lucy McRae is a sci-fi artist, film director, TED Fellow and body architect, placing the human body in complex, futuristic scenarios that confound the boundaries between the natural and artificial; inventing iconic artworks that take people beyond the expectations of themselves. Trained in classical ballet and interior design, her approach is to influence culture by exploring scientific breakthroughs relating to health and the human body, while providing a feminine point of view on emerging technology. Inventor of Swallowable Parfum, Lucy is recognised as an early identifier of emerging technologies that drive product innovation. Lucy led Philips Electronics far–future research lab, developing stretchable electronics, an electronic tattoo and a range of emotional sensing dresses. She has consulted with companies such as Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Intel and Aesop on the cultural impacts that emerging technologies will have on future lifestyles. McRae encourages scientific conversation around the slipperiness of where science and technology meet the body, throwing into question "What makes us Human"? She has spoken and taught masterclasses on the impact technology has on human nature at TED, WIRED Health, Royal Albert Hall, London’s College of Physicians, Tribeca, Cannes Lion and most recently at MIT’s Being Material conference in 2017. McRae’s award-winning artworks have been develo and exhibited at London Science Museum, Centre Pompidou and Venice Biennale.

Arvan Chan

Regional Vice-President, International and Corporate Operations, Centene, USA

Arvan Chan serves as Regional Vice President for Centene Corporation, a publicly traded Fortune 50 healthcare enterprise that partners with local governments to ensure people receive high quality and cost effective health and social care. Since joining Centene in 2007, Arvan has played a major role in helping the company establishes a footprint outside the United States. As part of his work in developing and managing Centene’s international businesses, Arvan led the investments and integration of the company’s international operations. He also works closely with local governments to expand public-private partnerships for the delivery of healthcare services in new markets. Arvan was named among the 40 most influential young professionals by St. Louis Business Journal and among the five emerging leaders by Olin Business School. He serves on the boards of various organizations around the world, including Vivent Health, International Institute, Ribera Salud, and Operose Health. He is also actively involved in a number of advisory and selection committees, including Arch Grants, Washington University in St. Louis, and United Way. Arvan received his bachelor's degree from University of California of Los Angeles and his masters in health and business administration from Washington University in St. Louis.

Emily Serazin

Managing Director and Partner, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), USA

Emily Serazin is a Managing Director and Partner at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Emily is a core member of BCG’s Health Care and Social Impact practices. Within health care, Emily’s focus is on vaccines and global health across the value chain. She also has expertise in digital health and in the formation and optimization of public-private partnerships. Examples of Emily's experience in the commercial health care sector include developing growth and product launch strategies for players in the global vaccines market, leading due diligences, and supporting post-merger integrations. In the realm of global public health, Emily has worked across leading global health institutions such as Gavi, UNICEF, WHO, and the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation to define investment strategies, coordinate multi-stakeholder efforts, prioritize portfolios, and identify key levers to drive uptake in low- and middle-income countries. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Emily has worked extensively with public, private and social sector actors to accelerate the development and deployment of Covid-19 vaccines and therapeutics.

Alisha Moopen

Deputy Managing Director, Aster DM Healthcare, United Arab Emirates

Alisha is the Executive Director of Aster DM Healthcare which is an integrated healthcare conglomerate of 30 years’ standing which spans 9 countries (UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, India, Philippines, and Jordan). Aster provides primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary care services, and now has more than 300 facilities. The Group employs more than 20,000 people, of which 2,000 are doctors and some 6,000 are paramedical and nursing staff. Alisha is a Chartered Accountant from the ICAS (Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland). and worked earlier with Ernst & Young. She has graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with distinction in Finance & Accounting. Alisha's philosophy in life is 'Healthiness is Happiness'. She wants to enable quality healthcare across the globe treating people with compassion, precision and excellence. She is dedicated to the cause of women's empowerment and mental health. She believes in diversity of the workforce, the strength in differences and focused on improving the glass ceilings at work for women. Health is a birthright of every human on this planet. Alisha is dedicated to ensure that humanity leverages on advances in science as well as personal re-engineering of self ranging from lifestyle choices to dealing with the external environment to stay happy and healthy, both physically and mentally.